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How to Decide Between Batt Insulation and Loose-Fill Insulation

When it comes to deciding between batt insulation and loose-fill insulation, it’s important to keep in mind what you intend to insulate and what kind of insulation method you want to use. Both batt insulation and loose-fill insulation work very well — you just need to decide which one you prefer.

  • Loose-fill insulation: Made out of small chunks of fibers, this insulation type is also known as “blown” insulation because it’s installed with a giant blower hose. Loose-fill insulation is also available in bags for filling gaps.

    When loose-fill insulation settles and compacts, you should vacuum out the old and start fresh.

  • Batt insulation: Made out of insulating fibers that are woven together to create a continuous blanket of material with a moisture barrier (either paper or foil) that is glued to one side. Batt insulation is available in 16 and 24 inch wide rolls (or 8 foot strips) to fit between the framing in ceilings and walls.

    Foil-backed batt insulation has a tendency to promote condensation that can result in mildew growth. You'll probably be happier with a paper barrier.

No matter which type of insulation you choose, safety is a factor. Insulation can contain fiberglass, fire retardants, insect repellants, and other stuff you don’t want in you or on you. Whenever you work with any type of insulation, be sure to protect yourself by wearing long sleeves and pants, full goggles, gloves, and a respirator.

Taking a cold shower after working with insulation helps remove tiny fibers that make their way to your skin. Don’t take a hot shower. Doing so opens the pores of your skin and allows the pesky fibers more opportunity to make you uncomfortable.

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